Monday, January 25, 2010

Hair is Where?

Well, not where it used to be. I used to feel like a Neanderthal woman, thickly pelted on forearms and shins, but now years of Lycra-wearing has worn off the worst of it in those areas. I still have hair in abundance where the modern sleek young women have waxed everything to rubber doll smoothness--or so I'm given to understand by TV shows and magazines. There are fashions in these things as well as clothing and hairstyles. Brazilian used to be a nationality; now it's a private hair style, a menu item on the waxing board.
So, swimming. Recommended by my masseuse to "open the shoulder." I used to love swimming, the cool sensation of water flowing past my skin, the buoyancy, the semi-weightlessness. I felt lithe and graceful in water, a mermaid in her element. Something I never felt on land. Swimming was the only exercise I could enjoy. All others made me sweaty, chafed and frustrated, were linked with humiliation and ill-fitting gym suits.
Now, however, the bother of going somewhere, undressing, getting all wet, drying off again, and getting redressed just seem like a huge hurdle. Until the shoulder thing. At least I can swim. I was on the swim team in high school. Before anyone gets overly impressed though, all you had to do to be on the swim team was show up at the pool and put on a suit. No try-outs, no cuts. I learned the strokes, I became a better, more efficient swimmer, but I never got any faster really. I finished every race two or even three lengths behind the winner. The coach kept nominating me for the three-inch trophy for perseverance, or dedication, which should have had engraved on it in parentheses, "despite lack of improvement." Happily, I was not my lap time. I was not my beautiful stroke. I was not how my body looked in a swimsuit.
It has never ceased to startle me that there are poor souls who continue to grasp at the straws that rain down on them in an indifferent universe for any hint of who they are, what they should do or be. I can feel a global sympathy for that plight, but I do not know how it feels.
Of course, I have other problems.

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